Wikileaks Infodump Volume 2: Various unspecified US misdeeds


#1721

That is certainly open to debate. I won’t disagree that there are too many secrets being kept, but I cannot say that releasing everything is the lesser evil.


#1722

Hang on. So if a US president refused to give money to terrorists who threated to kill Americans, and then those Americans were killed, you would also claim that “he didn’t really care about innocent people getting killed” or does your rule only apply to people you dislike?

Well, the imaginary Julian Assange in your head, yes, he’s quite a level-headed fellow, but the Julian Assange who’s been interviewed and written about profusely the past few years is anything but “surprisingly calm and level headed” and is fairly universally described as a personally unpleasant individual with a messiah complex.

I said in the media. From what I’ve read Assange is a very difficult person to deal with in person, but from all the interviews I’ve watched and read, he has clearly determined to put across a public persona that is calm and level headed (I didn’t say he was level headed, because I definitely think he’s a bit loopy).

So what I was saying, is that it seems unlikely, after spending years crafting a calm public persona, that he would throw that all away posting childish screeds like that.


#1723

I can, but since we are both doing nothing but pure speculation as to the number/impact of damaging pieces of information that might be under wraps I suppose there’s no way to reconcile that opinion.


#1724

Well I can say the flying spaghetti monster is real.

Yeah, I went there. ;)


#1725

Not even remotely the same. In your example, the US president is forced to take a position based on the wrongful acts of others. Assange, on the other hand, is basically saying “fuck whoever gets hurt, we’re releasing this information.” He is choosing to act, not being forced into a choice of how to act.


#1726

Being forced to take a position is irrelevant. I didn’t say that, in my example, the terrorists demanded that the US government pay them money. If they were just demanding money, and the US government refused to pay them on a point of principle, i.e. it will encourage more terrorism to pay, then it is exactly the same as Assange believing that the cost of lives is worth the principle of encouraging governments to stop classifying information that is potentially harmful to democracy and freedom.

Would you decribe a president’s actions in that case as “fuck whoever gets hurt we aren’t paying a cent”?


#1727

The entire point that your hypothetical misses is that Wikileaks could have achieved their goal without putting people in danger, period. It would have taken the simple and normal step of removing sources’ names from the cables to accomplish this. The information still gets out, people who need to get hurt get hurt, and people who don’t need to get hurt don’t get hurt. Wikileaks obviously and needlessly doesn’t care about that final bit.

Why anyone would defend how Wikileaks handled this is beyond me.


#1728

Incorrect. The government may work for the people. You are one of them, among very many. They aren’t accountable to you. they are accountable to us. However, releasing my information to you harms me. Releasing information about you to me harms you. Thus we cannot simply say that the government should release all information, since that would violate the privacy and safety of the people that the government works for (us).


#1729

That, with the further note that Assange has always felt his ‘cause’ was more important than protecting individuals who may have been in its way (including, arguably, Bradley Manning, depending on how much responsibility you levy on Assange for badly handling him).


#1730

I’m not defending it… I think maybe you are missing the point.


#1731

It is kinda sweet seeing people go ‘the government works for us’ etc. It’s true they do just about the minimum for ‘us’ to stop out right revolution, but really…sometimes naivety is just not going to work out in the long run.

‘Row between Wikileaks and Guardian over security breach’:

These guys used to be best buddies, but having seen the editor of the Guardian name the real guy behind guido faulks(some kind of political blogger here in the uk) live on the bbc’s Newsnight program, you got to wonder just how right-on the left wing media in the uk really is? And when is Julian going to be tortured in prison in the usa? It’s been quiet for ages on all that.


#1732

Nah, I get your point. You want to twist the argument away from, “Wikileaks should have redacted source names from what it released” to, “Wikileaks shoud not have released those cables under any circumstances.” I don’t see anyone in this thread making the latter argument, but there sure are a lot of folks in here pretending that people have.

EDIT: After re-reading this, I can see I’m being unfair to you, Tim. I’ll leave this up so you can skewer me with it, but apologies for accusing you of something other people did.


#1733

Argued by whom? Manning was caught because of his own poor choices beyond the leaking. I haven’t seen anyone argue otherwise except in this sort of of thinly supported smear. So how much responsibility do you put on Assange, and why? I guess his treatment by the government inhabits some sort of separate sphere where it’s still more important to attack wikileaks than viewing their actions in context.

The importance of Assange and Wikileaks is not that they are going to provide an objectively good source of transparency that emits rainbows while curing cancer. Many times, you should expect to disagree with a particular action of theirs, or all of them as in your case since it’s a fundamental ideological division (remember? you didn’t like the vetted leaks either).

The importance is that he represents a counter pressure to the obsession of Western governments and the US specifically with classifying their way into unaccountability. Because that’s a dangerous business to be in, you’re not going to see a lot of normal people going into it and you’re very likely to see a quick retreat shortly after they do as a result of the no-holds-barred response from world leaders.

Earlier you mentioned Machiavelli, presumably the always out of context “ends justifies the means” line. Well, assuming we take it in that spirit, the gauntlet has already been tossed by decisionmakers who actually imprison, kill, and shift vast sums of money around in the name of questionably veiled objectives, and the current administration’s dirty war on whistleblowers is probably just the tip of the iceberg. Just as a secret that should not be kept in the first place should cause you to question the legitimacy of the government fighting to keep it before you complain about the leaker, the focus should always be on those delivering provable, material harm that is evidently facilitated their lack of transparency rather than the guy who at this point is purely causing hypothetical damage. That doesn’t make him blameless or perfect, but just the wrong target for primary outrage, and that targeting is problematic in terms of misdirecting the argument on transparency.

It’s exceedingly unlikely for that balance to shift significantly as a result of anything done so far unless you prioritize apologizing for American secrecy above all else. Remember, none other than Robert Gates initially responded to the possible leak of all of the cables with a giant meh in terms of damage. I guess he doesn’t give a shit about American security either.


#1734

This seems like a ridiculous attempt at equivalency where there is none.


#1735

This, plus the fact that if you demand immediate and full release of all government information you’re denying government workers one of the essential tools they need to work effectively on your behalf. Never mind the can of worms it opens when you consider how much and how many kinds of information pass through government property at some point.

Yamo! I demand access to everything you’ve ever transmitted and received over the Internet because you used our collective government equipment to do it and YOU are now accountable to ME! Freeeeeeeeeeedom!!!


#1736

They will bury him by proxy with this Swedish rape (honeypot) thing. Or try to just keep him busy enough to not cause more trouble, pity he is aspergers and has superhuman reserves of anal retentiveness.

The thing that gets me is that if it was Russian secrets or Chinese secrets then he would be a hero, but no, he is against the white hats so he is a villain on the scale of Osama Bin Laden or Fidel Castro.


#1737

The US Govt can readily supply you with everything you ask for. Just call Echelon and ask for it. Oops! I forgot. Only the political elite have access to the truth. Sorry.


#1738

No, I’m asking you. Why are you so reluctant to divulge your secrets?


#1739

No, you are misreading it completely. If you bother to look at what I am responding to, i.e. use basic reading comprehension, you will see it is nothing to do with equivalency at all. I’m not saying that Assange’s motivation or the motivation to discourage terrorism is better or worse or the same. My comment had absolutely nothing to do with their relative values.

It was an analogy to show that the idea that someone “doesn’t care” about the deaths of people who die because they are following what they consider to be a just cause is inaccurate and the result of bias on the part of the person saying that. Not really worth two paragraphs to explain, but when basic reading comprehension fails you are forced to explain in greater detail.


#1740

Not a problem. I’m sure we all do this. I know I do :).